Debra Roberts, Master Beekeeper

DEBRA ROBERTS is a natural (treatment-free) beekeeper and international honeybee educator, speaker, mentor, advocate, artist, poet and writer. She swims in these waters:

  • The Sacred Path of Bee: Beekeeping as a Sacred Practice
  • Natural Compassionate Beekeeping (half-day to 3-day sessions)
  • Backing Into Wisdom by Focusing on Practice (chop wood, carry water, calling back the Medicine)
  • Love as the Ultimate Activism
  • Following the Bee Trail:  A Woman’s Adventures on the Good Bee Road
  • An Infinite Number Ways to Help the Pollinators (for those who do and don’t have bees)
  • Women’s Ways in the Apiary

Debra is Founder of Holy Bee Press, a bee mentor for Hamaatsa (an indigenous learning center in New Mexico), on the Advisory Board of The Center for Honeybee Research, a poet (some of her work here: On Bees and Being), editor of a series of ongoing articles about honeybees and natural beekeeping, and received her Master Beekeeping certification in 2010. She was highlighted as one of the Bee Luminaries in 2015 and chosen as one of the Heroes of Asheville in 2014. Debra also created the online series, The Sacred Path of Bee for bee appreciators worldwide. She mentors new beekeepers by email, Skype, phone (and where possible, in person). Debra also consults and collaborates with fellow artists on honeybee-related projects (email her for more information about this). She resides in the mountains of Western North Carolina with her husband Joe, cat Habla, and millions of honeybees.

You can meet her at these links:

Debra can be contacted to speak , teach or mentor at: debra@holybeepress.com or (828) 712-0880.




{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Katherine Coolidge (Nighthawk) April 18, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Thank you for directing me to this website and revealing this deep connection you have for one of the greatest wonders in our world–the bee. Truly this last month has been the bee moon. I was delighted to see the honoring art and statements regarding the bees–there is so much they contribute to us all–every bit of food is bee-cause of them! I am delighted to know a 2 legged spokesperson for them–much is needed here. Mi-Gwetch is Ojibwa, my language and it means much gratitude!! For I am grateful for all you bring!


Debra Roberts June 8, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Katherine, what a blessed blessing of a message. Thank you. This last month of “bee moon” … that is truly a wonderful speaking. Mi-Gwetch for your kind words and for great warm heart. love Debra


Peter Tadd April 23, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Dear Bee Special Person,

Wowsa you and your vision is soo Bee a tiffic. You radiate a honey sun-shine that is can I say refreshing! I love the free fall of your words. Here in the Irish sun and new found country as we are now back full time from the continent, creativity emerges unfettered due to the lovely aftermath of the now dead or almost dead “Celtic tiger”. Shackles thrown off and there is a buzz about the place as the old man finally fell over in his field, new ideas are everywhere exotic foreign and infusing and blending without the loss of humour and kindness.

We are all well and would love to catch up. Fionn is in a major Downhill bike race in Wales tomorrow. Trained all day today. Conditions are dry, dusty and warm. Joe might be interested knowing that Fionn is still serious about the iron horse that flies over roots and rocks at 30/45MPH. The boy is in heaven this weekend on his way back to London for school – Innovative Design. Lots to tell but would love to talk. Jennifer and I will be in CA and NM, and AZ in June. Maybe we can connect then.

YES affirmative,



Debra Roberts June 8, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Oh Peter, the bardic is alive and well in your bright words … thank you. I appreciate how you perceive the Celtic tiger’s opportunity to take a page from that proverbial phoenix … and that you both are there in such a transformative time is no great surprise. Was wonderful beginning to catch up with you all the other day. Hoping life will bring us together soon … and also bring Fionn and Joe to each other’s shores in this next while. love to you all, Debra


Joan Slemenda June 18, 2011 at 11:30 pm

I am most interested in your coming to our local beekeeping association as a speaker. We are a newly formed group in Spartanburg County (http://www.spartanburgbeekeepers.com) and we have 63 members! I love this website and your work. If you are interested in coming in August or September or October, please let me know via email or phone. My home phone # is 864-576-1003.
Thank you so much and blessed bee…


Debra Roberts June 24, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Joan, It is so good to “meet” you and I am very excited to hear about your Spartanburg group – what great good news! I would love to come and speak. My email address is debra@holybeepress.com … let me know what days your club meets and what you have in mind and then I will call you. I am speaking in New Mexico in October and in Vermont second half of August (with some of the Bee Illuminati as I call them ….). Have a wonderful day. Blessings, Debra


Ravihar Khalsa October 24, 2011 at 12:35 am

Dear Debra,
Today I would have been at your talk in Santa Fe with Larry Littlebird. This was my first year as a beekeeper and while it brought me much joy and found me surprised at how fascinated I was by every little bee thing, it also, as it turned out, was quite sad. After going through 4 queens (the original, a virgin, a mated queen, and finally one the hive raised – which made me so happy) my brave struggling bees were challenged by yellow jackets. Sadly, their numbers were just too few, and now there are no more bees. However, my beekeeping friends who got me started encouraged me to go today. I really debated – I even registered and paid. But last night when I was pondering whether to go or not (many things pulled me away from it) I decided to check out your website. And there, in the first couple of sentences was my answer – for which I am very grateful. I resonated so much with your expressions of sadness and mourning the loss of a hive. And yet I hadn’t really let myself do that. I suppose I thought I should just be practical and “real” as in “ah yes, that’s life” kind of thing. But yet I really was sad – those were my babies, my friends, my pollinators, my exciting new adventure. I truly was mourning their demise. So when I saw on your website the idea of descansos or a little shrine, I knew immediately that that was what I had to do today – yes, even instead of going to your talk. It just felt very right – I needed to do it. I have just finished my little shrine, which is just underneath the hive. Against a backdrop of a pale blue cloth representing the sky that knew the wings of the bees, and on top of a bed of pine needles, I placed several things of meaning to me. I included a handthrown vase made by my sister and a bowl made by my grandmother – both of whom are long deceased and would love knowing they are part of this. In the bowl I put some of the sunflower seeds which the bees helped pollinate, as well as some beautiful Pawnee shell beans. These beans and seeds represent growth and rebirth and the new hive that will surely flourish next spring. I found a few little dead bees (their soft furriness was so sweet) and scattered them among the pine needles. And of course in the vases I put flowers, which very poignantly attracted some nearby bees. And there are some tears mixed in as well.
But I feel so much better knowing I have honored their noble little lives and the great endless work they did. I’m sure I will hear about your talk from my friends, but I have to say that I am very grateful for your sentiments which allowed me to have some closure so that next spring we can start anew with a joyful heart once again.
Many blessings to you,
Ravihar Khalsa


Debra Roberts October 29, 2011 at 3:20 am

Ravihar, I am so deeply grateful for your beautiful message. I am still on the road in NM and it has been a bit higgledy piggledy being able to check emails. I am just catching up and I just read your message. I am at your feet. I feel the privilege of your sharing what you created to commemorate the lives of your precious winged friends and their loss. It is a death in the family. You clearly made the best choice on Sunday. I am so sure that this grieving, that is so much what we know how to do as women, and the beautiful way we pay tribute to those lost, is what allows us to finally, at some point, come to a place of new relationship with those that crossed over. They will always have our heart. This makes such a sacred way for the bees that will come to join you in the spring when you can begin again. I don’t believe that love expressed ever dissipates and it will be felt by the coming ones. I hope you will keep in touch and let me know how you are and when you get a new colony of beloveds in the spring.
love and blessings


Laura November 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm

How wonderful to find this and you. I am working to become a bee-priestess- well I already am one, I just want to learn ceremony and symbology to facilitate groups in ritual to support and celebrate bees. Could you point me in a direction to find an intensive? I am committed to doing work at a Goddess Temple with many other beautiful souls by Imbolc. Our individual charge is to explore ceremony during this quiet season.
Much love and respect,


Debra Roberts November 10, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Laura, I am so happy to “meet” you here. Thank you for your lovely message. I will reply to your email address in a minute. Many blessings to you. Debra


Marie Adams January 25, 2012 at 12:34 am

I am a friend of Sharan Miller who has attended & hosted Layne Redman’s workshops. It is an honor to find you. I wld like to e mail you my story regarding bees. There is not enough room n this comment section!:)


Debra Roberts January 25, 2012 at 3:04 am

Hi Marie, it is wonderful to hear from you. I would very much love to hear your story. Please email me at: debra@holybeepress.com
Many blessings to you, Debra


vapour planet February 25, 2015 at 1:50 am

Normally I do not learn post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very
forced me to take a look at and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me.
Thanks, quite great article.


Debra Roberts March 8, 2015 at 2:03 pm

You are very welcome. Blessed be, blessed bees.


kerry bee graham March 20, 2015 at 9:24 pm

Nice article, Debra. The bees, the dogs, cats, baboons, ladybirds, the rest of the creatures big and little thank you as does Tom Tom, Snow, Nutmeg, a crew of other fluffies awaiting a forever nest they can call their own. Ta ta and a pip pip.


Debra Roberts March 22, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Kerry, so wonderful to find you here! Will email you separately …. thanks for the sweet words.


Mary wong November 2, 2016 at 5:20 pm

I am the President of the Office Depot Foundation.We are having a conference Feb 16-18 and are looking for an expert on bees and the correlation the bring to life and work and happiness


Debra Roberts April 25, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Hi Mary, I hope this message finds you well. I had responded by email to this last year and hadn’t heard back so I assumed you had made a different decision. I hope you got the message. I would be happy to share my bee love with any Office Deport Foundation gatherings. Many blessings, Debra


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